Post Classifieds

Opportunities Exist Even in Tough Times

By Corrie Gray
On September 30, 2017

Entering her sixth academic year as GSU's president, Dr. Elaine P. Maimon proudly reported that the state of the university at GSU is strong and filled with insurmountable opportunities.

The theme of Maimon's address "insurmountable opportunities" derives from a Pogo comic strip phrase that she remembers from her youth, "We are faced with insurmountable opportunities, not insurmountable obstacles, but opportunities; very ambitious opportunities," said Dr. Maimon.

Maimon, then shifted her focus to the important hot button topic of ethics in education.

Citing the events that took place at Penn State, Maimon spoke at length about responsibility and the importance of ethical behavior in university life.

Although GSU does not have the temptations of big-time football, she feels that the university must still renew its commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards and integrity.   

"Higher education, encompassing all that we do at GSU must be first and foremost an ethical enterprise. We must always keep in mind that our purpose is to create a better world," said Dr. Maimon.  

She reminded the audience of the special responsibility that we all have to protect the vulnerable at GSU; children, students, and even lower ranking faculty.

Maimon stressed that everyone on a university campus should feel free to engage in the civil exchange of ideas and that untenured faculty members should not feel pressure to remain silent for fear of offending a senior faculty member on a tenure committee.

"Any form of harassment, racial, sexual, or just plain bullying in the classrooms, offices, hallways, or anywhere else in the university has to be ferreted out and stopped. If you see someone being bullied, please don't look away. Step in and defend the vulnerable person," said Dr. Maimon.

Maimon called for a zero tolerance environment, one of absolute trust so that whistle blowers do not fear coming forward as they did at Penn State.

"We must operate transparently. When we make mistakes we must own them, acknowledge them, and figure out ways to do better," Dr. Maimon said. "Cover ups are particularly reprehensible at a university because covering up goes against the core academic values of the academy."

Maimon believes that we at GSU have an ethical imperative and also an insurmountable opportunity to infuse ethical decision making in all that we do and teach including GSU's new freshman program and living learning communities in our residence halls.

"Since we are building it from the ground up, we can really do something remarkable," she said.

After reminding GSU faculty, staff, and students of their civic duty to get out and vote, Maimon went on to speak about various events that will be taking place in the upcoming year.

Maimon announced that world famous poet and social activist, Nikki Giovanni will be coming to the GSU Center for Performing Arts on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. to speak on the subject "The Courage for Equality: Love, work, society." The event is free and open to the public and was made possible due to the efforts of a cross college steering community which consisted of faculty from COE, CAS, and was chaired by Dr. Cyrus Ellis.

She applauded the efforts of Dean Deborah Bordelon and Carol Morrison for their work with GSU's Family Development Center and congratulated the center on its recent accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). "The NAEYC is the most prestigious accreditation for early childhood centers," said Dr. Maimon.

Under the watchful guise of GSU Executive Vice President, Dr. Gebe Ejigu, student housing will be breaking ground with a state of the design this academic year. "Students will have the opportunity to live and learn where the prairie meets the city," said Dr. Maimon.

Maimon added, "Overall the GSU facilities from infrastructure to parking lots, classrooms to labs, technology resources to signage have been significantly upgraded driven by a commitment to serve students better by improving the teaching and learning environment."

In response to the state's 6% reduction in appropriations to public universities, the largest cut in many years, Maimon says that GSU's positive momentum will not be impeded by the depressing financial situation of the nation and the state of Illinois.

"Yes, the waters continue to be troubled, but our strong ship sails forward," Dr. Maimon said. "During the new academic year with creativity, innovation, and team spirit we will, all of us together make the most of our insurmountable opportunities."

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